Nonprofit Entanglement: Quantum Effects of Social Media Implementation

“Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans.” – Francois Gossieaux

 

Entanglement is a basic tenant of quantum mechanics, the physics of sub-atomic particles. Entanglement has captured the imagination of the scientific community ever since Albert Einstein and his associates Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen co-authored their 1935 paper (EPR) in which the notion was famously described as “spooky action at a distance.”

Quantum entanglement occurs when two particles, such as photons or electrons, interact and become linked in such a way that their “states” cannot be described separately. Although they may be located miles apart, the mechanical conditions (spin, momentum, and polarization) of such molecules remain mysteriously coupled. Consequently, when the status of one entangled particle is changed, the settings of its distant twin are simultaneously affected.

The properties of entangled particles consist of: (a) interdependence, (b) synchronicity, (c) faster-than-light (FTL) communication, (d) related values, (e) time/space interdependence, (f) increased coding density, and (g) particle fragility whose contravention is called “decoherence.”  These, and other coherent characteristics have given rise to a host of conceivable technological applications including cryptography, quantum-based computing, and teleportation.

Recently, a team of Chinese physicists clocked the instantaneous interaction between entangled particles at more than four orders of magnitude (3 trillion meters per second) faster than light. In 2012 a group of international scientists actually teleported entangled photons over 143km (89 miles), using the first fiber optic network that can carry conventional and quantum data. Both experiments seem to indicate that entanglement occurs even when particles are located at opposite ends of the universe, irrespective of traditional time/space boundaries. This has led many to believe that a faster-than-light (FTL) Transluminal Internet is a genuine possibility.

Apart from evoking momentous research and science fiction-like eccentricities, quantum entanglement has now entered the public sphere as a useful framework for the diffusion of more practical technologies. More specifically, I would like to suggest that quantum entanglement be used by nonprofit organizations as a paradigm for strategically aligning social media (SM) tools to “entangle” their volunteers, donors, and recipients. In so doing, philanthropic institutions may engage their patronage in such a way as to enhance, influence, and propitiously transform the state of each.

According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are 1,409,430 tax-exempt nonprofit organizations in United States (2013).  Nearly $317 billion was contributed to charitable causes in 2013, representing a 4.9% increase from the 2012 total. Online giving to charitable causes in 2013 totaled $24 billion. Apart from garnering 32% of the total amount contributed in 2013, on-line contributions to Faith-based institutions increased by 18% from the previous year.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (2012) reports that 41% of nonprofits attribute their social media success to having developed a detailed social media strategy. Forty-seven percent (47%) of Americans confess that they gather information about charitable causes via such on-line social media channels. While the average social media donation in 2012 was $59, when nonprofits link Twitter with more traditional fundraising events total collections increase tenfold! Pertinent for this discussion is that 63% of donors expressed the desire to establish a close relationship with charitable organizations in order to know how their contributions were utilized!

A significant conclusion that can be drawn from the aforementioned studies is that relationship management is the Holy Grail, the quantum mechanics of successful social media implementation. By advancing an entanglement strategy that initiates, nurtures, and retains engaged relationships, nonprofits can establish long-term relationships that are “encoded” with respect and reciprocity, rather than hurried self-serving transactions.

The C-ME Model of Social Media Entanglement (OINOS Consulting) integrates social media technologies within five (5) relational components of an organization: (a) cultivation, (b) conservation, (c) collaboration, (d) convalescence, and (e) celebration. When properly implemented, each relation-based component of the entanglement framework has the ability to develop a number of valuable operational subsidies for religious, business, and nonprofit enterprises. The following table provides a brief overview of the social media tactics recommended by the model.

C-ME Model of Social Media Entanglement

Relational Component

Focus

Social Media Tactic

  1. Configuration

Initiate

  • Matchmaking audience with cause
  • Narrative overviews of the cause focus
  • Mission-centered storytelling
  1. Cultivation

Nurture

  • Discussion and dialogue with constituencies
  • Up-keeping the status of cause advancement
  • Ongoing development of constituency relationships
  1. Collaboration

Partner

  • Identification of appropriate alliances and associations
  • Development of collaborative projects
  1. Convalescence

Restore

  • Identification of negative perceptions and experiences
  • Clarifications/explanations for misconceptions
  • Acknowledging mistakes/failures
  • Rehabilitation of brand and cause
  1. Celebration

Value

  • Appropriate acknowledgement of project valediction
  • Public appreciation to volunteers, donors, etc.
  • Commemoration of significant milestones

 

When appropriately linked to the concept of quantum entanglement, social media tools can be potently used to effectively configure and nurture the on-going management of relationships. It would, therefore, be valuable to explore the five components of the C-ME Model and their associate implications for nonprofit institutions.

Configuration: The first component of a comprehensive social media strategy should focus on the configuration of authentic cause-to-constituent relationships. Accordingly, the C-ME Model advocates that media applications be initially selected for the purpose of strategically “matchmaking” nonprofit charitable causes to the interests and aspirations of select target audiences.

According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (2012), 57% of Facebook Fans “Like” to interact with philanthropic organizations on Facebook because they want to “publicly display their financial support to their friends.” While Facebook Fans grew by 47% in 2012, the number of nonprofit followers on Twitter increased by an astounding 264%! Most significant is that of those that do provide online financial support to nonprofits, 56% confirm that compelling stories are the primary motivation for their charitable contributions.

The implications of the aforementioned statistics should not be underestimated!  As constituent cause alignment and engagement intensify through storytelling and dialogue, nonprofit philanthropic entities should seriously consider utilizing rich-media narrative and video shorts to initiate the first component of their relational management strategy. Pinterest and YouTube are excellent platforms whose applications may easily be used to advance such interactions.

Apart from effective storytelling, nonprofit leaders who aspire to utilize social media technologies to configure (initiate) relational entanglement with their charitable cause should also identify, develop, and nurture the following abilities in their respective media mangers: (a) creative thinking, (b) composition and proofreading, (c) multi-media design, (d) HTML expertise, (e) knowledge of current societal issues, and (f) community engagement. When strategically focused by leaders with the knowledge, skills, and attitude, social media entanglement generates significant online financial contributions, increased brand and cause awareness, higher rates of volunteer recruitment, retention, and overall philanthropic engagement!

Cultivation: The second component of the C-ME Model of Social Media Entanglement is cultivation. Once target audiences are aligned as “followers” of nonprofit causes, their relational configuration must be carefully cultivated and nurtured. Aside from guiding the “matchmaking” selection of content, platform, and application to a targeted audience, nonprofit leaders should, therefore, utilize the framework of entanglement to develop intimate constituent (public, volunteer, donor, recipient) engagement with an entity’s aspirational goals.

In general, the Internet does not provide an automatic audience. Nor do ‘trickle-down” social media strategies effectively draw sympathetic searchers or provide adequate nurture for recently configured constituencies. On the contrary, with the possible exception of people who are randomly searching, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, savvy followers are highly selective and interact with material that firmly align with their interests and needs. In order for nonprofit organizations to effectively manage the cultivation of such relationships social media tools should not be used to erroneously advance self-serving objectives but provide followers the possibility of personal stimulation and professional growth.

According to Alex Knapp, the Social Media Editor and staff writer for Forbes Magazine, media is either “dead” or “alive.” Using the famous quantum physic metaphor of Schrodinger’s Cat, Knapp suggests that the current practices of broadcast-based communications are akin to imprisoning a story (cat) in a box. Although the “box” may be widely distributed, no one knows if the story was read, appreciated, or simply ignored. As the box (communication medium) remains locked, the answer is largely unknown.

 

On the other hand, “live” social-based media methodologies more facilely reflect important properties of quantum mechanics. Similar to entangled particles, participants (readers, bloggers, contributors) who interact with the observed (rich-media) the author (initiating source) as well as the application used to communicate are irrevocably altered. In the final analysis, it is this interplay between the participant, the platform, the observed, and the author that provides the possibility of entanglement to occur.

Following is a listing of the ten (10) most popular social media network platforms. While Facebook is universally considered to be the most extensive social-profile networking site on the Web, care should be taken when selecting the platforms and applications that provide the greatest opportunity for nonprofit constituent cultivation to occur.

Social Media Networks

Network

Focus

  1. Facebook
Personal profile exchange with common-interest user groups
  1. Twitter
Micro blogging and social networking
  1. YouTube
Video sharing
  1. Google+
Deeply integrated social networking & identity site
  1. Linked-In
Professional oriented social networking
  1. Pinterest
Virtual pin-board for sharing brand style and preferences
  1. Flickr
Image & video hosting website & online community
  1. Instagram
Photo sharing and mobile social networking
  1. Yelp
Location based user review and social networking
  1. Change.org
Next generation social change platform

 

Collaboration: The third component of the C-ME Model of Social Media Entanglement encourages organizations to tap into the extensive brainpower and energy of their respective networks by providing opportunities for their constituent followers to engage in interactive learning and collaborative conversation. Through the strategic implementation of such innovative tactics, philanthropic entities can discern how to provide more effective services, support and value to the local community.

Social media has extensively been used by educators to successfully promote collaborative learning methodologies. Apart from improving operational productivity and financial sustainability, nonprofits should utilize social media applications to similarly encourage the development of interactive partnerships between themselves as well as their varied constituencies. In so doing, nonprofit leaders can promote the maturation and evolution of current social media platforms into more valuable networks of societal collaboration and learning.

 

One way that faith-based, nonprofit and/or philanthropic organizations can successfully foster the morphing of social media into valuable collaborative partnerships among constituent donors, volunteers, and public advocates, is by demonstrating authentic interest and commitment to local community challenges. By frequently posting inspirational comments about local issues, events, and concerns nonprofits can provide a valuable arena for active learning, and entrepreneurial creativity to occur.  Only in this fashion can religious and nonprofit organizations earn the moniker of actually being a neighborhood social change leader.

Convalescence: The fourth relational phase of the C-ME Model encourages the creation of a safe and non-judgmental space for the honest and authentic exchange of estimation and opinion. Herein is where many organizations mistakenly use social media to “spin” rather than listen, learn, and collaborate. Managed effectively, however, nonprofit leaders can regulate estranged constituent relationships and avoid the negative consequences of dissolution. By successfully implementing social media tactics for mutual “convalescence” nonprofits can actually inaugurate eras of organizational revitalization.

According to Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, “brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” As nonprofit organizations are not immune to negative as well as complimentary brand perceptions, a nimble crisis management strategy is, therefore, a vital component of an entanglement-based SM strategy whose goal is the appropriate management of relationships. The fourth component of the C-ME Model of Relational Entanglement concentrates on utilizing social media tools to aid the healthful convalescence of inevitable volunteer, donor, and general constituent disillusionment.

Here, the transluminal (FTL) speed at which entangled quantum particles “communicate” is a wonderful illustration for nursing public and/or constituent negativity back to health. Organizations using social media technologies have the opportunity to, likewise, provide quick FTL responses, explanations and/or apologies. As a result of actively monitoring, tracking, and thereby catching early warning signs on social media channels, appropriate responses may be provided to moderate the destructive consequences of negative comments, suggest acceptable solutions, and diminish the possibility of premature relational dissolution.

Marketing studies indicate that while only one in three “dissatisfied” consumers actually lodge a formal complaint, 50% will in fact share negative perceptions with others. Unlike people who continue to stay in a relationship for months after it has actually “ended,” social media platforms provide a valuable opportunity for nonprofit leaders to learn if something is wrong within their organization long before an issue can become toxically decoherent. Sometimes, merely posting a public response that a representative will be personally contacting a disgruntled follower(s) can effectively demonstrate that an organization is not defensive but genuinely open to suggestions for more effectively fulfilling its mission.

Alternatively, if a comment is misleading or parades false information, nonprofit media moderators should swiftly share factual information that supports actual circumstances. Whatever the case, responses to frustrated and/or dissatisfied followers, donors, volunteers, and/or other complaining constituents should always be timely, factual, invite dialogue, remain polite, and, when necessary, be authentically apologetic.

Celebration: The most common social media mistakes made by nonprofit organizations include: (a) mismatching the message/application to the target audience, (b) neglecting to respond/reciprocate in a timely fashion, (c) ignoring content quality, (d) overestimating the value of follower numbers, (e) disregarding negative/dissenting perceptions, (f) posting/broadcasting rather than stimulating engagement, and (g) irrelevancy. However, apart from underestimating the value of implementing a comprehensive communication strategy that is firmly based on a clear and identifiable logic, failure to celebrate success is the most serious omission that a nonprofit entity can commit.

Consequently, the fifth and final relation-based component of the C-ME Model of Social Media Entanglement focuses on the significance and value of promoting an organizational culture of healthy celebration. Nonprofits should use social media tools to promote celebration in their own unique and appropriate fashion.

Market research indicates that apart from receiving some form of public recognition, donors are most eager to ascertain the impact of their contributions. Aside from posting general messages of appreciation, nonprofits should, therefore, leverage the power of select social media tools to “showcase” and “story” how the contributions of their volunteers, donors, and members are positively impacting the aspirational mission of the organization.

Finally, by utilizing applications such as Hootsuite nonprofits can actual monitor if/when the impact and achievements of their respective organizations are mentioned by others.  When appropriate, photos of public acclamation should, subsequently, be widely distributed in order to applaud current participation and inspire future engagement. To avoid follower cynicism, however, nonprofits should only re-post, re-tweet, and link to positive social media comments on a limited basis.

The positive consequences associated with implementing a comprehensive social media strategy based on a framework of entanglement are, indeed, quantum! Nonprofit organizations would do well to therefore utilize social media technologies for the purpose of developing entangled environments wherein authentic levels of commitment, love, and lasting partnerships may co-exist. Aside from enjoying an increase in charitable contributions and volunteerism, the character and reputation of such entities will undoubtedly receive positive public amplification. In the end, like its quantum particle archetype, an entangled nonprofit has the potential to be an authentic expression of synergy, unity, and love – a societal icon of transluminal philanthropy.

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. ? (John 17:20-21)

Dr. Frank Marangos is CEO and Founder of OINOS Educational Consulting. He received a Doctors Degree in Adult Education (Ed.D.) from NOVA Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and a Doctorate in Ministry and Childhood Education (D.Min.) from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX).

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